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Old 03-27-2018, 10:17 PM   #1
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Bouncing around northeast Baja

My van and I got a chance to play around in Baja California this month, but it was a much shorter trip than expected, because I broke one of my leaf springs (more on that later). These photos are of northeast Baja, in the Mexicali to San Felipe area.

Camping on the eastern edge of the Sierra de Juarez mountains, overlooking Laguna Salada 4600 feet below. Can you spot my van in the aerial shots? You can click on the photos for larger versions. ()








Palm tree oases with petroglyphs in the canyons along the western shore of Laguna Salada:








A ruined resort deep in the remote desert, complete with swimming pool. I read it had been built by a Mexican general in the 1990s - but was abandoned when he was thrown into jail. ()










Palomar Canyon hot spring - a soaking pool at the end of 10 miles of grueling road. At one point I had to stop for a half hour of rock rearranging because my van was too wide to pass between a couple of boulders.














The reward: ()








Unfortunately I must have hit one of the bumps in the road a bit too hard, because I discovered a front leaf spring had snapped. Using my bottle jack to pry things apart a bit, I managed to do a little field repair using ratchet straps to tightly hold the broken leaf spring ends in place, but it slowly sunk in for me that my holiday was most likely over. Because a second intact leaf was there under the broken one (with partial military wrap), I figured my van was stable for driving, but there was no way I would trust it solo driving rough roads far from civilization.

When I found cell service, I called Sportsmobile in Fresno and learned that my broken spring was a custom part that they no longer stock. They only stock the parts for their current Sportsmobile 4x4 system, which is different front and back (and rides 2" higher). I am a bit disappointed they don't stock spare parts for older models (mine's a 2004). Sportsmobile West recommended I contact Deaver Springs to fabricate a replacement leaf.










I did a bit more Baja relaxing, but didn't stray far from pavement. Here's the sand bar at Estero Perceb˙: ()








Dead whale:




My last camp was over on the other side of Gulf of California, heading in the direction of Puerto Pe˝asco - just west of "El Tornillal" near Gulfo de Santa Clara. The area is beautiful, with lovely patterned sand bars at low tide. ()







-- Geoff
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Old 03-27-2018, 10:18 PM   #2
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Here's my GPS track map:



-- Geoff
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Old 03-27-2018, 11:01 PM   #3
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Awesome. Too bad about the leaf spring.
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Old 03-28-2018, 06:08 AM   #4
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Thanks for the writeup and photos. Seems like a great trip despite the leaf spring. Nice job on the field repair.
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Old 03-28-2018, 09:00 AM   #5
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Wow!!! Looks like a fun trip. Too bad you had to cut it short. Spring is a great time to visit Baja. We got a couple fat tire MTN bikes last year and have really enjoyed riding them around down there.
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Old 03-28-2018, 09:24 AM   #6
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Nice report !! What kind of bike is that - looks like lots of fun...

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Old 03-28-2018, 09:26 AM   #7
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Thanks for sharing Geoff. Hope you get the spring figured out soon!
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Old 03-28-2018, 10:05 AM   #8
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Looks like a fun trip, thanks for sharing. Best of luck/success with the spring.
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Old 03-28-2018, 10:38 AM   #9
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Friggin love your Baja reports Geoff!
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Old 03-28-2018, 10:53 AM   #10
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Looks like a grand adventure, there's always something new to discover in Baja. I'm sure you have it fixed by now, but you were pretty close to Agile in El Cajon. If they didnt' have anything in stock, I bet their local spring builder could have fixed you up pretty quickly. Anyway, great report.............
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